American Music Volume 34, Number 3, Fall 2016

American Music Volume 34, Number 3, Fall 2016
American Music publishes articles on American composers, performers, publishers, institutions, events, and the music industry, as well as book and recording reviews, bibliographies, and discographies. Article topics have included the lyricism of Charles Ives, Henry Cowell’s „sliding tones,“ Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Henry Brant’s „Spatial Music,“ the reception and transformation of pop icons such as Presley and Sinatra, and the history and analysis of blues, jazz, folk music, and mixed and emerging musical styles.

The Temperance Songs of Stephen C. Foster
Paul D. Sanders

Beginning around 1840 and continuing to the ratification of the National Prohibition Act in 1920, temperance reformers in the United States produced an astounding number of songs published in hundreds of temperance songsters and as sheet music. These songs were sung at temperance meetings and festivals, in schools, and at home. Temperance reformers understood the power of music and freely utilized songs in the battle against “demon rum.” Writing early in the movement, Mary Dana exclaimed in The Temperance Lyre, “How wonderfully great is the influence of music! … Use this weapon freely, my brothers and sisters; tune your cheerful voices till you charm away the evil spirits which have so long troubled this beautiful world.” Such views continued through the history of the movement. Just a few years prior to prohibition, John Clements echoed Dana’s enthusiasm in his preface to Shaw’s Campaign Songs: “Once the nation gets to singing the message of temperance, the greatest single stride has been taken toward the birth of the new day that sees whisky banished forever from our land.”

The Composers’ Collective of New York, 1932–1936: Bourgeois Modernism for the Proletariat
Maria Cristina Fava

he search for an American identity in music that characterized the years of the Great Depression coincided with a widespread demand for a music that could instill and sustain faith in a brighter future. Some composers, such as Roy Harris, sought to build this new national image by finding inspiration in the mythology of the American West. Others focused on a rediscovered popular appeal influenced by American folk music and hymnody, for instance, Aaron Copland and Virgil Thomson.1 This quest for an idiosyncratic American sound was also at the basis of the activities of the Composers’ Collective of New York, a group of young artists of leftist persuasion stimulated by a desire to give music an active role in the political struggle of the day. Some of these composers are less known today, yet the group counted, among others, Copland, Henry Cowell, Elie [End Page 301] Siegmeister, Earl Robinson, Lan Adomian, Marc Blitzstein, and Norman Cazden, as well as the future music scholars Charles Seeger and Henry Leland Clarke. Looking for a musical language that could communicate with the masses and give voice to the people’s needs, they aimed to establish “American proletarian music” and to pursue the development of an art music that would be free of many of the (real and perceived) constraints of European traditions.

Lost in The Cradle: The Reconstruction and Meaning of Marc Blitzstein’s “FTP Plowed Under” (1937)
Trudi Wright

Notes on Deconstructing the Populism: Music on the Campaign Trail, 2012 and 2016
Justin Patch


Mad Music: Charles Ives, the Nostalgic Rebel by Stephen Budiansky (review)
Warren Kimball

Anthems and Minstrel Shows: The Life and Times of Calixa Lavallée, 1842–1891 by Brian Christopher Thompson (review)
Gayle Sherwood Magee

Hawaiian Music in Motion: Mariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels by James Revell Carr (review)
Ricardo D. Trimillos


Published by: University of Illinois Press